Yoga is a comprehensive mind-body practice that is particularly effective for self-regulation, mood management, fostering resilience, and promotion of wellbeing. Inherently, yoga is a system for improving mental health and alleviating suffering at the deepest levels. Consequently, yoga’s potential as a key component of integrative and complementary mental health is now being recognized internationally. This book serves as a reference, but also as a bridge between yoga therapy and healthcare, helping to add to the process of growing integration. It provides a professional resource for mental health professionals interested in the potential for yoga interventions that facilitate the therapeutic process, and who want to learn ways in which yoga can catalyze and deepen this process across a broad spectrum of mental health approaches. Similarly for yoga professionals with a focus on mental health and wellbeing who want to expand their understanding of how yoga relates to mental health approaches and their knowledge of best practices.
The format is designed for consistency and ease of reading. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the yogic viewpoint of mental health and wellbeing, and the psychological and neurological rationale for yoga’s usage in mental health conditions. Each subsequent chapter is organized into a clinical overview of mental health conditions, followed by sections on current research and the rationale for incorporating yoga into the treatment of the condition, recommended yoga practices, and future directions.
Reviews on Amazon include the following from Sara Nothley, clinical psychologist and yoga teacher:
This is an absolutely fantastic book: interesting, clearly written but also very well researched, based on cutting edge clinical evidence. I am a clinical psychologist and yoga teacher and this book is the perfect marriage of the two disciplines. Highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in yoga or mental health.
Heather Mason joined Elizabeth Larkam on Moved to Learn! last year to discuss yoga and the pandemic and how yoga can and should be part of our societal recovery.
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Heather Mason is the founder of the Minded Institute – an organization that both trains professionals and develops, implements, and researches innovative methods for mental health treatment based on the fusion of yoga therapy, mindfulness techniques, neuroscience, and psychotherapy. The Minded Institute offers a renowned 500 hr yoga therapy training program in the UK for professionals who are specifically interested in using yoga therapy to work with clinical mental health populations, runs regular continuing professional development courses, and creates mind-body interventions for stress and mental health disorders.
Heather possesses a robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies and an ongoing MSc in Neuroscience. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. In addition to forming the Minded Institute and supporting its various activities, Heather created and taught an elective at the Boston University School of Medicine for first and second year medical students, focusing on the neural correlates and clinical applications of yoga. She has also lectured on Harvard’s Mind-Body Medicine Class alongside the world’s leaders in mind-body medicine research. Previously, Heather has lectured on the neurobiology of PTSD; and on neurological mechanisms of yoga, and mindfulness – as relevant interventions – for the world-renowned Boston Trauma Center. She has also developed a program for those with PTSD at the Maudsley Hospital in London, one of the leading psychiatric hospitals of the UK. Heather is a seasoned lecturer and co-organizes an annual yoga therapy conference. She is also a yoga researcher and her main area of interest is the effects of pranayama on the nervous system.
Kelly Birch has an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a board-certified counselor with an integrative psychotherapy practice. She has extensive training in yoga (E-RYT 500) and yoga therapy and is certified as a yoga therapist (C-IAYT) by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Since 2004, Kelly has taught yoga to diverse populations including community classes and veterans, as well as to private yoga therapy clients. She has also trained in teaching mindfulness, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
From 2010 to 2017, Kelly was the editor in chief of Yoga Therapy Today, the professional membership magazine published by the IAYT. She was the founding editor of the Journal of Yoga Service, a peer-reviewed publication of the Yoga Service Council, which she edited for two years. Kelly was copyeditor and text developer on the Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care (published by Handspring in 2016) and is currently a freelance book editor. She is also adjunct faculty at Endicott College in Massachusetts, and is a frequent guest lecturer on mindfulness and yoga at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon.